Day 1, we are in the Hebei province and arrived in Boading at 15:20. We need to get over to our first recording session at the Lotus Garden soon as the musician we plan to record leaves at 17:00. We manage to check in and gather all of our recording equipment required for our first sampling session in Hebei.
We make it to the Lotus Garden in time, where Mr Yu is waiting at a private workshop ‘Yu Lianjun studio’ in his hand is a very old and traditional instrument called the ‘Xun’ looks like he has the instrument we want to sample.
This is one of the oldest instruments in China, played for approximately seven thousand years. Initially made of baked clay / bone it is shaped like an egg with at least three finger holes. They come in a range of different sizes with the blow holes ranging from three to 9 holes.
Mr Yu, shares the heritage of this instrument and showcases his vast collection of them. Having performed on CCTV (the national news channel in China) and he is very well known for playing the Xun.
Before the performance, Mr Yu explains that the piece carries huge sentimental value for the people of Hebei and takes a very long time to learn, as musical phrases and sections have been forgotten over time. Later the GSM team took recordings of Xun of differing sizes providing a wide range of samples.
We setup two AKG 414 mics as a close spaced pair going into the Zoom H6 to capture the instruments in their natural environment.
Mr Yu, finished with ‘Ring Bowl’, an instrument that originated in China and widely used by Buddhists. These vary in size, however, the one played by Mr Yu was approx. 10cm radius and sounded incredible.